Back in episode 59 I gave my initial impression of YouTube’s premium “YouTube Red” service. Overall, I wasn’t impressed, but after a year and 20 episodes – and getting access to a new 3-month trial – I wanted to revisit the service and see what had changed and if it would become a regular part of my cord-cutting utilities.
What is YouTube Red?
To put it simply, Red is a premium service created by YouTube in order for them to do more specialized content with some of the top creators on the platform. It costs $10 per month. With that $10 per month, you get benefits, like absolutely no advertisements, access to their Red Originals programming (which I’ll touch on more later), total access to Google Play Music – which is on par with Spotify Premium, and the ability to download videos and playlists.
We watch a lot of YouTube in my house. In fact, I think I personally watch more YouTube than I do Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Video. It’s the first thing I turn on when I want to watch TV at the end of the day or on the weekend. When you watch that much, ads can be frustrating. That’s why I love the idea of cord-cutting and pay extra for Hulu’s Commercial-Free package. (Although that’s not 100% accurate. Thanks, ABC…) Netflix doesn’t have ads, either.
The problem with YouTube ads is that there is one in front of every single video you watch unless it’s one that is not being monetized, which, if we’re honest, is a rare thing. Having YouTube ad-free is a fantastic perk, but I’m not sure if it’s worth $10 per month.
Let’s continue and see if this pans out.
YouTube Red Originals
I love seeing creators get the chance to make something they’ve always wanted to make. This is the idea behind Red Originals. From what I understand, the way it works is YouTube selects several of the top creators on the site and given them an injection of money to make “that thing”. For instance, when Red launched in October of 2016, PewDiePie, Rhett & Link, Lilly Singh (AKA Superwoman), and Joey Graceffa, among others, released new premium shows. These were only accessible behind the Red paywall, but the first episode was free as a teaser.
When I originally looked at YouTube Red, there wasn’t a lot of content there. There was even less that I felt deserved my time or money. In the end, that was the number one thing that made the service unappealing.
A year or so later, there have been additions to what is available and some of it is definitely worth your time. My favorite shows have to be Rhett & Link’s Buddy System and Mind Field by vsauce. One of the hardest parts about the Red Originals is that I don’t know a lot of those creators. That didn’t stop me from checking out some of the shows.
I watched both seasons of Joey Graceffa’s Escape the Night, a murder mystery reality show, which has some good ideas, but overall fails in its “reality show” style. They were obviously acting…
Anyway, there is much more to sink your teeth into here. In addition to the YouTube creator programming, the service is bringing in other talent and trying to position itself as a competitor to Netflix and Hulu. This time around, there is plenty to choose from.
One nit to pick: it’s hard to find the Red Originals unless you’re using a mobile device. At least that’s my experience. Unless you’re subscribed to a YouTube channel with Red content, you’ll have to hunt it down through searching for “YouTube Red Originals”. I think there should be a button in your Subscriptions that will take you right there. Just a thought.
Google Play Music
This is an underutilized feature of my subscription. I don’t listen to a lot of music unless I’m working on something that needs my full focus and I can’t listen to a podcast. From what I understand, though, with your YouTube Red subscription, you get access to the full Google Play Music library. You also have the ability to download single tracks, full albums, or even playlists. It’s essentially Spotify Premium, but it comes with YouTube Red. It also works with the YouTube Music app, I believe. If music is a big part of your life, this just me be the thing for you. Two services for $10. Not bad.
Maybe you’ve got a long commute somewhere and really want to know what happens in the next episode of Lifeline, but don’t want to wait to get WiFi again. Maybe you have to sit at the doctor’s office and wait, but feel like binge-watching latest Good Mythical Morning episodes. The download feature works not just with Red Originals, but with every single YouTube video and playlist out there. You can take your favorite cat videos with you now!
I personally haven’t found a reason to use YouTube Red’s download feature, but I’m sure it’s a nice thing to have.
Overall, I think YouTube Red is a good service. It’s not really for me, though in the end. I cherry-pick the premium shows I want to watch and there isn’t enough consistently to keep paying the money. Music isn’t a part of my daily life, so I don’t need a premium music subscription. Ads suck, but they aren’t bothersome enough to pay $10 every month. Also, there is so much packed into the subscription that it’s hard to remember, “Hey, I can do that!”
If you want to use YouTube Red, you can go to youtube.com/red and get a free trial. I don’t know if that would be for a single month or if it’s for 3 months. Either way, I would encourage you to check it out and get your own opinion. Will I use it if it’s free? Absolutely, but I don’t think it’s worth my money in the end. Maybe if they bring in more well-known movies instead of just original content, I might think differently.
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